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Which motorcycles hold their value best?

2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Ultra Limited - retained value
2015 Harley-Davidson CVO Ultra Limited

When you buy a new motorcycle, it’s always in the back of your mind how much value it will retain when – not if – it comes time to buy your next bike.

The good news is that if you are into cruisers, sports bikes, Harley-Davidsons, BMWs or Japanese bikes, you are in luck.

The market leader in motorcycle valuations, Glass’s Guide, has provided us with the following motorcycle trade-in values over the first five years of

Their residual value forecast is based on the trade-in value and uses Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data for the top five sellers in each category with a base price minimum of $4000.

Prices for private sale would be higher than these trade-in prices, but they are a good indication of residual values.

Their data displayed below clearly shows that cruisers have the highest retained values at trade-in time and they hold on to their value for longer.

Cruisers retained 65% of their value in the first year or 20,000km, narrowly ahead of sportsbikes (64%) and dual sports bikes (63%).

Cruisers also retained high values for longer, dropping to 50% by the fifth year or 1000,000km, which is a substantial amount of kilometres for any rider. Meanwhile, sportsbikes and dual sports dropped to 42% and 46%, respectively.

The worst retained values were for minibikes which dropped to 47% and 27% by the fifth year and scooters (50-29%).

Residual value forecast (%)

Segment 1yr/20000km 2yr/40000km 3yr/60000km 4yr/80000km 5yr/100000km
Cruiser 65 58 55 53 50
Sports 64 55 53 46 42
Dualsports 63 56 52 49 46
Road 59 51 47 42 38
Enduro 57 48 43 37 33
ATV 56 47 42 37 33
Motocross 52 46 43 39 34
Agriculture 51 43 39 33 29
Trial 51 42 39 34 31
Scooter 50 42 38 33 29
Minibike 47 39 35 30 27

The best-performing motorcycle was the Harley-Davidson CVO Ultra Limited which retained 78% of its value in the first year, dropping to 61% in five years or a massive 100,000km.

Together with the high retained value for cruisers, is it any wonder Harley-Davidson has the highest brand retained value at 77% reducing to 60% in five years?

Harley-Davidson Australia marketing boss Adam Wright says the bikes hold their value because they are made in America.

“Today’s consumers see these products as being a solidly engineered and well-built motorcycle that represents American values of freedom and adventure,” he says. “In many cases, consumers also see H-D as a low-volume manufacturer compared to automotive and other motorcycle companies. This gives them an opportunity to own something that is somewhat exclusive which leads to a good return on investment.

“Our CVO range is a great example of exclusivity with constrained numbers manufactured across the globe. To own one of these premium motorcycles means you are purchasing a Harley-Davidson that will be very limited in its availability, ultimately leading to a strong resale position. It’s important for us as a brand to ensure we create motorcycles that represent quality, longevity and a strong brand equity position. “

Harley is followed by BMW at 66% down to 45% in five years, Triumph (65-46%), then Kawasaki (60-39%), and Yamaha and Suzuki (59-39%).

Top 10 motorcycle/ATV brands

(FCAI sales data 2014)

Brand 12/20000km 24/40000km 36/60000km 48/80000km 60/100000km
Harley 77 69 66 63 60
Kawasaki 60 51 48 42 39
Yamaha 59 51 48 43 39
Suzuki 59 51 47 42 39
Honda 59 50 47 41 38
KTM 54 46 43 38 34
Polaris 57 47 43 37 33
Triumph 65 57 54 49 46
BMW 66 58 54 49 45
CFMoto 56 46 42 37 33
BMW S 1000 XR
BMW S 1000 XR

BMW also does well with the best retained values in three categories for its new S 1000 XR hyper-adventure bike, K 1600 GTL Exclusive flagship tourer and R 1200 RS sportsbike.

Glass’s Guide analyst Rushad Parkar says they base their forecast values for new models on “how the predecessor or the closest model from the manufacturer has fared in the market and market expectations/changes associated with the new release”.

For example, the new BMW S 1000 XR forecast value was based on how the BMW 1000 S and the BMW 1000 R performed in the market and how their used values fared.

Best sellers

(Bikes in black have the highest residual trade-in value in their category and bikes in red have the lowest.)

Model Segment 1yr/20000km 2yr/40000km 3yr/60000km 4yr/80000km 5yr/100k km
Yamaha YFM450FA 2014 ATV 64 54 50 42 38
Hisun Parkland PQV-350 ATV 54 44 39 31 27
BMW S 1000 XR 2015 Dualsports 72 68 67 65 64
KTM 1050 Adventure 2015 Dualsports 72 68 67 65 64
Xtreme SX250 Dualsports 53 44 36 32 28
Yamaha WR450F 2015 Enduro 63 54 52 44 40
Kawasaki KLX150L (KLX150E) Enduro 55 47 41 37 30
Husqvarna FC450 2015 Motocross 58 52 50 46 41
Braaap Maestro 150 Motocross 44 39 38 34 30
BMW K1600 GTL Exclusive 2015 Road 70 62 58 52 48
MCI RT 250 Tornado Road 49 40 38 32 29
Harley-Davidson CVO Ltd 2015 Cruiser 78 70 66 64 61
Suzuki VLR 1800T Boulevard (C109RT) K9 Cruiser 54 48 46 43 38
Derbi GP-250 Scooter 61 50 46 40 37
Zoot Deluxe 505 Scooter 44 33 30 26 23
BMW R1200 RS 2015 Sports 72 68 67 65 64
Riya RY300T Adonis Sports 51 39 35 31 28
  • Glass’s Guide, founded in 1933, is the de facto reference for the financial and insurance industries. You can obtain an authorised current market valuation of your bike or a bike you would like to buy at Glass’s Guide valuations for $19.25 (includes GST).
  1. Adam Wright reckons harleys hold their price because they
    are american made, So where does that leave the street 500?
    The last 2 bikes i have bought, were both valued at double
    what i paid by the insurance company, You can bet a lot
    of sellers out there are not getting near the advertised price

    1. There not American made. They mite b American assembled. Most parts are manufactured overseas anymore. I have a sporty 1200 n almost every part on it was made in Asia. Buy a Suzuki. Same difference

  2. “Today’s consumers see these products as being a solidly engineered and well-built motorcycle….” How easy it is to fool a H-D rider. How often does one see this marque having to be taken home on the back of a ute?

    1. Why is it that non-HD riders whinge about Harley’s more than actual owners of the brand?

      Find something else to whine about. Or better yet, go for a ride and celebrate that we are all motorcyclists, not matter what brand we choose.

  3. I don’t understand how Harley Davidson does it. It’s almost mystic. Of all the riders I see broke down somewhere for something, it’s a Harley Davidson rider. Somehow they have enough people transfixed. I wish I could understand the motivations of people wanting to ride slow, cumbersome, rattling, expensive-to-fix, bikes and make peace with it. But I can’t.

    1. That’s BS. You know, I know it. I have never seen a Harley broken down on the road in 40 years. I have seen Hondas.

  4. Just returned from a fault free 4000km trip on a a bike i have already clocked over 40,000 fault free k’s on
    cost me $1,800
    65% back on something that you shelled out over 20 grand for is good?
    So you lose 45% then have to put out at least another 45% to buy another.
    In only 12 months? And you feel good about that?

  5. I would like to see Harley Davdson go back to basics ad install a reverse gear on the large
    Cruisers. I hope HD management seriously consider this recommendation, as the benefits would be simple:
    *. More sales throughout the world of large cruisers
    *. A reverse gear is a positive safety feature for a 400 kg + motorcycle
    *. Add confidence to riders with parking
    *. Add to the resale of the motorcycle
    Very simple!

  6. I own a 2010 Suzuki C109RT Boulevard.
    According to the guide it is now worth about 3/5ths of 5/8ths of f*** all.
    Thats not a problem though, I bought it for what it is, not for what it would get me as a trade in in 5 years time……as would have most bike owners.
    I think I will still be riding her in another 5 years time, she will still be worth the same amount to me ….. priceless.
    Stay safe.

    1. The value is in the ride not the resale….value, ride what you enjoy not what is going to give you a bit better resale value..good on you

  7. Whichever bike I start researching (because I like the look or specs) holds it’s value!! I can’t take a trick.
    I always loved flathead fish (which were cheap) and now they tell me they are trendy and relatively expensive. I get screwed every time.
    If you want to know what is going to go up in value, just hold onto my desirable list of motorcycles : GSX1400, CB1300, Husky 701, MT01, Street Bob, XJR1300, NC750S, PCX150……..
    I will have to buy something else.

  8. I recently had to sell a 2014 Harley CVO Limited with 3,400 miles on it. When new, out the door was 42,000 before sales tax. . Market value after one year 30,000. Harley is just pumping out too many bikes, and killing the used market prices. I think the bike that this article claims to hold the best value, is currently one of the worst.

  9. I like the Harleys but this time I went for an Indian Scout over the Sportster. I’m one of those customers that sales people love because I change bikes every couple of years. This makes me mindful of future trade in values. The Harleys have been fairly good in holding their value particularly if you sell privately rather than trading in. I thought the Indian Scout was a much better bike than the Sportster. I have taken the punt that the Indian Scout being an American bike with lots of heritage behind it will hold it’s value as well as Harley. Time will tell.

    1. How’s that workin for ya? Indians have almost no resale value. And I would suspect unloading one could become difficult, if not impossible the more they show how unreliable they are. Check the Indian forums, people are almost giving them away due to horrible reliability issues and horrible treatment from PI & they arnt getting much for them. Polaris has a long, LONG way to go before I would consider one. But givin their propensity for dropping an entire line a-la Victory, I can’t ever see myself on one ever. The styling does anything BUT excite me also, I’ve heard them called clown bikes by someone looking at buying one they are so gaudy.

      1. Don’t know where you get your info from, maybe your imagination. I’m a long time Harley rider that switched to Indian over 4 years ago. Zero problems and it’s a much better ride plus I don’t have to figure out which black Street Glide is mine in the parking lot. I’ve had 2 recalls. One for a small clip on the fuel line and the other for a re-flash. Harley meanwhile has had a ton of recalls including don not sell / do ride ride ones. I hope Harley works out their troubles as the competition is good for everyone. As of now Harley sales are dropping and Indians are rising. The CVO resale quoted here is a very limited market. Neither the standard Harley nor Indians are going to have a great resale value but that’s not what most people are considering when looking for a new ride.

        1. Hey Cranky Franky, everybody is entitled to their stupid opinions but you are over doing it.

          1. hi Guys i am planning to buy a cruiser between indian scout or harley iron 883. what you suggest in terms of comfort, maintenance, resale value etc? appreciate your assistance guys

      2. as a retired harley mechanic frankie your lost the water cooled indians will out last a harley 2 to 1

  10. I’m not seeing younger people on Harleys anymore. I bought my first my first brand new HD 1979 Sportster and HD was all we really knew back in the day so some of my buds went to the store and bought Harleys too (bigger ones) Seems that most young(er) riders are all on metrics. Is the love, mystic and cult following of HD winding down lately? I agree, the Japanese metrics are good bikes and cheaper. However, I happen to be a boomer (70) who will always be hooked on HD.

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